Gum disease linked to infertility

According to experts gum disease may reduce the chances of getting pregnant. Poor oral health is as bad for fertility as obesity - delaying conception by about two months says latest research.

Experts at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Sweden were presented with evidence how women with gum disease took over seven months to conceive, compared to the usual five months. The researchers believe the underlying cause is inflammation. Unchecked, this can set off a chain of reactions capable of damaging the body's normal workings.

Periodontal disease has already been linked with heart disease, type 2 diabetes and miscarriage, plus poor sperm quality in men. This new study from Australia, which involved over 3,700 women, those with gum disease had raised blood levels of markers for inflammation.

There were even further disparities among non-Caucasian women with gum disease and white females with good dental health. The researchers compared the effects of gum disease on a woman's ability to conceive to those that have been associated with obesity.

According to lead researcher Professor Roger Hart, of the University of Western Australia, “Until now, there have been no published studies that investigate whether gum disease can affect a woman's chance of conceiving, so this is the first report to suggest that gum disease might be one of several factors that could be modified to improve the chances of a pregnancy.” He advised women trying to get pregnant to get a check up by their dentist along with other measures like stopping smoking and drinking, maintaining a healthy weight and taking folic acid supplements.

UK fertility expert Dr Allan Pacey said, “It's common sense advice really to make sure you are in a healthy condition if you want to try for a baby.” Around 10% of the population is believed to have severe periodontal disease.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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